Does Populism Pose a Threat to Liberal Democracy? A study on Populism in Europe

University essay from Malmö universitet/Kultur och samhälle

Abstract: In 2018, Freedom House announced that democracy is in peril, while at the same time there is a considerable rise of populism around the world. This begs the question whether populism poses a direct threat to liberal democracy? This research question looks at the complexity of the relationship between the concepts of populism and democracy, and how it is difficult to analyse due to lack of conceptualizations. By drawing on secondary data from Freedom House organisation and Reporters Without Borders organisation, I analyse through a quantitative comparative case study, six countries in Europe who have had a populist leader in power during a certain time frame. Populist parties were observed whether they had impacted key democratic indicators during their term in office. The results indicate that in general populism does not pose a threat to liberal democracy.

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